Opera & Music Theatre

“…Van Parys’s score fits arrestingly well… The performance was overwhelming…” An Oresteia - Maarten Beirens, De Standaard, 22 February 2011

NOTWEHR 2022 ('50)

for two female solo voices, vocal and instrumental ensemble 

Chamber Opera (50′)
Concept & creation:
Annelies Van Parys — music
Gaea Schoeters — libretto
Sjaron Minailo — stage

A commission of La Biënnale di Venezia, in co-production with Studio Minailo, Hermes Ensemble & Muziektheater Transparant.

Dedicated to Maria Kalesnikava & all other brave women who lost their freedom fighting for a better world. 

24 September 2022
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venezia

What is freedom? And what are you willing to sacrifice it for?
During an illegal protest action, a young activist is arrested. She is locked up for the night together with an older barmaid, who’s been accused of killing her husband. The two women unwillingly share the small prison cell: their forced togetherness starts out on a tense note, but as time passes they open up to each other. First reluctantly and uneasily, then more intimately, they share their fears and hopes. Sheltered by the night, they look back on their lives, and wonder what freedom really is and what they are willing to risk it for. And if the end justifies the means, even if that means breaking the law. Where at first they have no understanding at all for each others actions, they soon find out they have more in common than expected. Their encounter, confined in time and place by their imprisonment, becomes an internal journey that will change them both.

Just like in Adriano Banchieri’s (1605/1623) madrigal cycle Barca di Venetia per Padova (two) people with a very different social background are brought together by coincidence — or is it fate? — and forced to spend a certain amount of time together in a limited space. And just like Banchieri’s travellers, these two women are ‘in the same boat’... Composer Annelies Van Parys’ music enters into dialogue with the Banchieri madrigals, as librettist Gaea Schoeters weaves the old texts into the new libretto and the vocal ensemble paints a picture of the events that led up to incarceration of both women. The two soloists share their thoughts and feelings not only with each other, but also with the audience, as they comment on their own situation — thus turning Notwehr into a performance that is both playful and touching, light and dark. Staged by Sjaron Minailo.

"She brings many years of experience in music theatre to the task, and it shows - idiomatic instrumental writing, strong vocal lines, and her characteristic ability to weave in and out of music history without losing her own voice all contribute to the evening’s strength. A good libretto ... certainly helps. Schoeters strikes just the right balance between poetry and prose, never too wordy, but always a compelling narrative." - Shirley Apthorp, Slippedisc

HOLLE HAVEN (37') 2020

Text: Gaea Schoeters, Paul van Ostaijen
Composition: Annelies Van Parys
Piano: Annelies Van Parys, Lies Colman
Mezzosoprano: Els Mondelaers

Première at Concertgebouw Brugge (online) on 14 mei 2021

Concert performance - Concertgebouw Brugge


This opera is based on Debussy’s “La Chute de la Maison Usher”. It departs from the existing sketches (roughly 20’) of Debussy but is by no means intended as an attempt to reconstruct the piece. The text of Debussy and Gaea Schoeters is based on E.A. Poe’s "The Fall of the House of Usher".
USHER is a co-commission of Staatsoper Berlin and Folkoperan Stockholm. 

Composition: Annelies Van Parys/Claude Debussy • Libretto/ Scenario: Gaea Schoeters/Debussy/Poe • Musical Direction: Marit Strindlund • Direction /Set Design: Philippe Quesne • Dramaturgy: Roman Reger • Music: Members of the Staatskapelle Berlin (Berlin) / KammerensembleN (Stockholm) • Soprano: Ruth Rosenfeldt / Alexandra Büchel • Baritones: David Ostrek, Martin Gercke, Dominic Kraemer / Olle Persson, Ola Eliasson, Rickard Söderberg

1 soprano, 3 baritones
Flute, saxophone (soprano + tenor), trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba, bayan, harp, percussion, 2 violins, viola, violoncello, double bass + surround.

USHER 2021


This performance consists of two monologues written by Gaea Schoeters in which texts by Shakespeare provide a kind of meta-commentary. These texts were set to music by Annelies Van Parys.

Composition: Annelies Van Parys • Scenario / Theaterplay: Gaea Schoeters (&Shakespeare) • Soprano: Naomi Beeldens • Lute / Guitar: Maarten Vandenbemden • Staging: Het Geluid Maastricht  • Set Design: Anneleen De Causmaecke

for 2 actors, singer and lute/guitar

Het Kanaal 2017
A musical theatre play


A commission by the Klara Festival. The production was a staged setting of the Song Cycle of Janacek with added new songs of Van Parys for the female character of Zefka and the female choir.

CREDITS PERFORMANCE Composition: Annelies Van Parys/ Leos Janacek • Concept and staging: Ivo Van Hove • Stage: Jan Versweyveld • Dramaturgy: Krystian Lada • Soloists: Ed Lyon and Marie Hamard • Actor: Hugo Koolschijn • Choir: Trees Beckwé, Isabelle Jacques, Raphaële Nsunda Nluti • Piano: Lada Valesova  

Soprano, 3 female voices (S, M, A) and piano

Diary of the one who disappeared 2017
Trailer BAM


A commission by the Klara Festival. The performance was a staged setting of the Saint-Johns Passion by Pierre Audi with contemporary pieces at the beginning, in the middle and at the end.

Compositie: Annelies Van Parys/ Samir Odeh-Tamimi/Johann Sebastian Bach • Concept and staging: Pierre Audi • Direction: Andreas Spering • Soloists: Jacop Pilgram, Dominik Köninger, Grace Davidson, Benno Schachtner, Magnus Staveland, Tomas Kral • Choir: NFM Choir • Ensemble: B'Rock • Set and light: Roel Vanberckelaer and Peter Quasters • Images: Wim Delvoye • Video: Myriam Devriendt

Choir and baroque orchestra

Private View - First opera by Annelies Van Parys 2015

Annelies Van Parys, one of the resident composers at Muziektheater Transparant, writes Private View, her first opera, for the Opera XXI festival. Private View is a production of Muziektheater Transparant in coproduction with Concertgebouw Brugge, Operadagen Rotterdam, Opera Vlaanderen, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Asko|Schönberg, Collective 33 ⅓, National Opera Bergen and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. With the support of BesteBuren. Private View was awarded the FEDORA - Rolf Liebermann Prize for Opera 2014.

Composition: Annelies Van Parys • Libretto: Jen Hadfield • Scenario: Gaea Schoeters • Musical Direction: Etienne Siebens • Direction I Dramaturgy: Tom Creed • Set Design I Video: Collective 33 1/3 • Music: Asko I Schönberg Ensemble & Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart • Soprano: Johanna Zimmer • Mezzo Soprano: Truike Van Der Poel • Tenor: Martin Nagy • Bariton: Guillermo Anzorena • Bas: Andreas Fischer • Light Design: Peter Quasters.

Private View 2015
Private View (2015) by Neue Vocalsolisten and Asko Schönberg led by Etienne Siebens

Field Recordings ('50) 2015

Commissioned by Concertgebouw Brugge and realized with the support of the Flemish Government.

A performance - Installation 

Composition: Annelies Van Parys • Texts: Peter Verhelst • Concept and Installation: Anneleen De Causmaecker • Sound: Roel Das • Mezzo: Els Mondelaers • Saxophones: Andy Dhont • Percussion: Vincent Caers • Dance: Isabelle Balsa

Mezzo soprano, Saxophone (1 player, multiple saxophones), percussion and electroacoustic installation of 98 speakers

Field Recordings 2015
Full 40-minute film of the captivating performance-installation piece FIELD RECORDINGS, by Anneleen De Causmaecker, Annelies Van Parys and Peter Verhelst. Premiere at Concertgebouw Brugge in May 2015 in Bruges Belgium.

Bzzz't (20') 2012

For solo harp

Commissioned by Theater De Spiegel.
Music theatre production for small children.
Premiered by Isabelle Matthijssens / Sonja Tavormina

Instrumentation: Harp

Pelléas et Mélisande, Debussy – arr. Van Parys (120') 2011 cfr. arrangements

Parcours (20’-25’) 2011

For recorder solo, water and electronics. 

Commissioned by and dedicated to Guillaume Van Mechelen 

Premiered by Jan Van Hoecke, June 2011 at Werkhuys Antwerp. Concept and Staging Anneleen De Causmaecker, staging advice Fardau Akkerhof 

Supported by Studio Champ D’Action (electronics: Jasper Braet)

Instrumentation: Recorder, water, electronics

Een Oresteia 2010 / 2013

A drama of Clytemnestra from the Oresteia by Aeschylos; a companion to Oresteia by Iannis Xenakis. 

Text by Aeschylos, selection Caroline Petrick Transl. A.D. Bouillet, P. Claudel
for mezzo, mezzo-alto, alto and ensemble

Part 1.  Prologue
Part 2.  Clytemnestre se justifie
Part 3.  L'ombre de Clytemnestre
Part 4.  Epilogue

80' ( staged version, 2010 )
20' ( concert version, 2013 )

Instrumentation: Soprano, Mezzo, Mezzo-alto, flute, oboe, piccolo clarinet Eb, contrabass clarinet, double bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in c, tenor trombone, tuba, cello, timpani, percussion (1)

Commissioned by the Eduard van Beinum Stichting for Asko/Schönberg 

Staged version premiered by VocaalLAB Nederland and Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, cond. Alejo Pérez, February 2011 at Concertgebouw Brugge. Concept and staging Caroline Petrick. A production of Muziektheater Transparant and Concertgebouw Brugge

Concert Version premiered by Asko/Schönberg Ensemble, cond. Clark Rundell, September 2013 at Vredenburg Leeuwenburgh, Utrecht for the opening concert of the 2013 Gaudeamus Muziekweek

Can be performed as a separate music drama, for stage or concert hall, or as part of a complete "Oresteia" to be performed alongside that of Iannis Xenakis.

An Oresteïa 2010
An Oresteïa (2010) door Asko Schönberg led byAlejo Pérez

An Index of Memories (70’) 2009

For Mezzo, Bariton, SSA and Ensemble 

Commissioned by the Spectra Ensemble

Premiere by VocaalLAB Nederland and Spectra Ensemble, cond. Marit Strindlund, March 2010 at deSingel, Antwerp. Staging Caroline Petrick A production of Music Theatre Transparant

Instrumentation: Mezzo, Baritone, SSA, flute, clarinet, horn, violin, viola, cello, percussion (3).

“This performance again reflects the big talent of Annelies Van Parys who, as few other composers in Flanders, masters the art of limitation and has no fear for beauty and seduction.” An Index Of Memories - Stefan Moens, De Morgen, 15 March 2010